THERE will be a straight shoot-out between Hampden Park and BT Murrayfield this summer for the right to host Scottish Cup finals and Scotland internationals after the SFA board kicked out rival bids from Celtic Park and Ibrox.

After months of speculation, the top brass of the national governing body met in the bowels of the famous old Mount Florida stadium yesterday afternoon to consider a comprehensive Options Review into what opportunities exist for them beyond merely extending the existing lease for the use of Hampden Park, which is set to expire in 2020. With the cost of that deal – thought to be around £800,000 per annum – widely considered to be unsustainable, the board considered various submissions in what is a dilemma ripe with various financial, emotional and political complications.

Not least of these came from Queen’s Park, the historic amateur Grandees of the national game since 1867, for whom moving on from the national stadium could deprive of a potentially crippling financial blow in the region of £300,000 annually. Scottish Rugby, who have launched a charm offensive to see international football moved to the other side of the M8, in close proximity to the SFA’s new performance base at Oriam, made their pitch, as did Celtic and Rangers, both of whom submitted rival bids to host matches.

But with a request from Glasgow City Council – for whom it also drives tourist revenue to various rock and pop concerts each year - to review the timescales of any decision also acknowledged, the board decided to kick out the idea of hosting matches at Celtic Park or Ibrox, effectively touring these games around the country, in favour of retaining a properly neutral venue for cup finals. Hampden was given a stay of execution, at least until the summer, when a final decision will be made between it and moving to Murrayfield.

Scotland's national stadium, 115 years old this year, continues to make new memories, as witnessed by the late Leigh Griffiths free-kick double against England in June. Whatever happens come July, when a final decision is scheduled, it will do so until it plays host to matches at Euro 2020 at least. It is known across the globe as the venue for the iconic 1960 European Cup final or the site of Zinedine Zidane’s volleyed winner for Real Madrid in 2002.

It has its critics as well as its backers, however, with the spectator experience, particularly in those shallow areas behind either goal, regularly disparaged since its £59m overhaul in 1999. While upgrading the stadium once again, at a tune of anything up to £100m would be popular amongst the rank and file, it is surely out of reach of a national association which has failed to deliver Scotland to a major finals for 20 years at a time of severe pressure on the public purse. Moving on would also mean the SFA having to find a new base for its office and administrative functions, uprooting the national team from its ancestral home in Glasgow, and countenancing the potential security headache of hosting Old Firm finals in Edinburgh. "Having considered all submissions and supporting documentation, the board has decided to further develop two positive options: remaining at Hampden Park beyond 2020 and moving to BT Murrayfield," the SFA said. "This decision was taken after considering the financial implications of all proposals submitted. Given the complexity of the discussion - as well as the social, economic and emotional impact - the board was unanimous that more work requires to be undertaken to bring further clarity and certainty to any final decision."